Photo Composition : The Thing You Must Learn First

There is plenty of knowledge a one must have to become a good photographer. Not only about handling your camera, photo composition, shooting techniques, and many others, someone should learn before being able to create a good photo.

A lot and it may cause a beginner overwhelmed and confused about which one to be studied first.

There will be many answers with valid argument. However, I would strongly suggest anyone who has just begun to start with photo composition. Yes, rather than others, I think this is the most important thing and should be on your top list of what to learn as a beginner.


Let’s make it simple,

  • If you understand well about photo composition, even if you only have a low-end camera or smartphone camera, you still can produce a good photograph. People still can enjoy your photos as you know how to place a subject and combine it with background and other things inside a frame
  • Even, if you have a full frame, a high-end camera, but you don’t know how to place the subject or combine all factors in your frame, your photos will definitely not be nice to look at
My wish - a new smartphone with better camera, better lense and better feature
The photo of Setu Gede which was taken using a low end smartphone camera, OPPO A3s
A photo about mobile coffee shop in a corner of Jakarta, taken using old smartphone OPPO A3S

You can’t be a professional photographer if you only know about photo composition and don’t ever think it is enough. However, at least, your photo can be understood by your friends, family, colleagues, and closest friends.

If your photo composition skill is good, you can achieve this easily. At the same time, it can be your base to move forward.

You can also avoid Gear Acquisition Syndrome, a syndrome that make people think that a good photo can only be produced by the newest or expensive camera. It is because you know how a good photo is created which is by making a good composition of all factors inside a photo frame.

For learning photo composition, you don’t have to buy a new DSLR or Mirrorless Camera. Photo composition can be learned by using your current smartphone, which surely has a camera on it.

It can be also practiced anytime, anywhere, and using any objects.

What to learn in photo composition?

I believe you already know that internet has everything. You can find easily by using Google search to find the definition about photo composition. Google can provide you also with so many articles, that even can make you sick, about how to make good photo composition.

However, I would prefer to write in more simple way.

1/ please learn how to place a subject in a frame and you can start with learning how to use Rule of Thirds as a start

2/ please learn also a bit make your photo subject prominent in your photo, like by applying KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle

3/ please learn about color combination that may attract people attention, such as warm or cool colors

4/ please learn about how to avoid unwanted object from being captured (to be patience)

5/ please learn how to make photo sharp

6/ please learn about how to use natural lighting

If you have and even master these basic knowledges, not only it will be easier for you to step further and grow your skill, but your photos will be appreciated by your closest circle, at least. It will grow also your confident.

Until now, after years of being a semi professional photographer, I still train myself about composing a photo in any kind of situations, with any objects. I do this just by using my smartphone.

Therefore, I know many experts says to start with understanding basic photography theories, such as ISO, Shutter Speed, et cetera but I beg to differ. After, the very first step, which is reading your camera manual book (including your smartphone camera), you should start your photography life by learning about photo composition.

Of course, step by step as there are still lots of things in composing good photo.

So, this is my tought but you surely have your choice how you want to start.

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